Starkey Hearing Technologies is the only American partner, and the only member of the hearing industry, to participate in an ambitious 6.5€ million European project that aims to improve the mental well-being of numerous elderly Europeans.
The project, known as SENSE-Cog, is designed to improve understanding of how sensory impairments relate to cognitive and mental health. The European Union has funded this project with the goal being to translate new knowledge of the interrelationships of sensory and cognitive health into daily clinical practice, policy and community impact. The SENSE-Cog project is working on this multi-faceted goal via the following efforts: (1) the creation of clinical tools, (2) the development and deployment of approaches for raising public awareness, and (3) the documentation of the economic impact of sensory and cognitive impairment.
“Amongst the project outcomes targeting daily clinical practice, a crucial one is the design and testing of an intervention protocol to support vision and hearing function of elderly dementia sufferers,” a Starkey Hearing Research Center Director, said. “And this is where Starkey comes in.”
The sensory support intervention is a centerpiece of the project. “A well-designed and successful sensory support intervention protocol has the potential to greatly impact the cognitive well-being of many elderly people and thereby significantly reduce one of the top 10 public health burdens of Europe,” he said. “Starkey has played a crucial role in both the specification of the sensory support intervention and in the design of the research study to determine the efficacy of the intervention.”
The SENSE-Cog team originally called upon the world-leading expertise of Starkey Research in the clinical deployment of hearing aids and in the design of clinical trials of hearing aid interventions. To help with the SENSE-Cog project, the Starkey team will be focused on deploying randomized controlled trials addressing the efficacy of the sensory support intervention over the next few months. These trials will be conducted across five different countries and involve an estimated 200 patients. The trials, the Starkey team said great promise of yielding a wealth of knowledge that could impact the care of elderly people facing sensory and cognitive challenges worldwide.
But, Starkey’s important contributions in this research project extend beyond the design of the sensory support intervention and its testing. The Starkey research team will also be helping with other practical elements of project deployment. Specifically, our partners at Starkey UK have already provided hearing aids for use in the research study and have also given expert guidance to the project on proper hearing aid usage and deployment.
The SENSE-Cog project is currently still in continuation.